The outstanding feature that tourists can easily find in Vietnamese villages is the spirit of community. This is clearly shown when each village has mutual living areas such as water wells, temple courtyards, temples of the God of the village. Moreover, this spirit is also expressed via the idiom "Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away" which is kept from generation to generation. In case of emergencies, the nearby villagers may be more helpful than the relatives living far from you.
I - Ancient villages in Vietnam
1 - In northern delta area - Vietnamese ancient village
The Northern region
The characteristics of the old villages in the delta area have been deeply rooted in the memories of many generations of Vietnamese. In which the most prominent features include:
- Village gate: It was normally built in the style of a unique architecture - "three-door gate" which has one main gate in the center and two smaller standing one on the left and the right respectively. Carved on the gate is the name of the village which was inscribed in Nom or Nho characters. The gate is also the boundary of different villages and shows the majesty.
- Bamboo groves of villages: Bamboo groves are a popular image in Vietnamese villages. Normally, each village has its own bamboo groves because bamboo plays an important role in the life of ancient Vietnamese.
The well of village - Source: Vu Anh Dung
- Well of villages: Besides the communal house, pagoda, or temple, the well of the village is usually located in the middle of the village. The reason is that the well is the important source providing the whole village water for drinking and cooking.
- Thanh Hoang God: Thanh Hoang is considered as the God having responsibility for the good fortune and bad luck of the whole village. The God is usually worshiped at a communal house or temple of the village. Every year, Thanh Hoang worship day is celebrated as the biggest festival in a village.
Nowadays, due to socio-economic development, the images of the ancient villages of the Vietnamese in the North side have not been popular. If visitors want to explore and experience cultural values, artifacts, and so on, you can go to Duong Lam ancient village (Location: Lam Street, Son Tay Town, Hanoi City; Ticket price: 20,000 VND / person (~ $ 0.86)).
Top villages of Vietnam in central region:
Similarly, villages in the Central region also have typical images such as village gates, wells, communal houses, pagodas, and so on. However, compared to villages in the North, these typical images seem fainter. In the village, each house was built in three-room architecture and covered by a tiled roof. A small well is also necessary. A garden in front of the house to prevent wind and storms. There are many kinds of fruit trees such as pomelo, yellow apricot blossom, and jackfruit. Coming here, visitors will feel the fresh and peaceful space of Vietnamese ancient villages. The villages in the Central region are famous for the pottery craft because of the shiny, smooth, and high-quality ceramics. To experience this feeling, visitors can visit Phuoc Tich ancient village (Location: Phuoc Phu village, Phong Hoa commune, Phong Dien district, Thua Thien - Hue province).
Top famous Vietnamese villages in southern region:
Villages in South Vietnam have an ancient beauty combined with the vibrant and fresh fruits and plants. Each village has a small flower path, a small canal, or a small creek. The hundred-year-old houses were built in a unique architectural style, intricately carved and mixed with the French architecture. At those villages, visitors will be surprised by the talented and skillful old Vietnamese craftsmen creating wonderful temple veils, the wooden doors with elaborate and unique patterns. Visitors will have chances to experience the typical old village in the South while experiencing fishing and delicious food made of fish. You can consider going to Dong Hoa Hiep ancient village in Dong Hoa Hiep commune, Cai Be district, Tien Giang Province.
2 - Mountainous areas - Villages of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities
Besides, the mountainous areas where ethnic minorities live also have many villages with many unique cultural features from lifestyle, architecture, customs, and culture.
Northern mountainous region:
This area is the main living area of the Tay, Dao, Nung, Muong, and Thai ethnic groups. Ethnic minorities mainly concentrated in small villages with nomadic custom. The villages are normally located in valleys and hillsides where few people pass through, and the transportation is difficult. People mainly cultivate wet rice. They worship forest gods, mountain gods, and river gods. Visitors can experience the ethnic markets with many unique dishes, traditional handicrafts, typical Vietnamese brocade, terraced fields, and stilt houses. You also should experience the unique customs such as love market, bride kidnapping, leaf trumpet, tube wine (drunk via bamboo tubes). The best local Vietnamese villages that visitors should come to experience the cultural space are:
- Cat Cat village, San Sa Ho commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province
- Ta Phin village, Ta Phin commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province
- Pom Coong village, Mai Chau town, Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province.
The mountainous region of the Central Highlands:
Famous for the culture of gongs and coffee in Vietnam, the Central Highlands is home to many ethnic minorities such as Gia Rai, Ede, Ba Na, Co Ho, Nung, Xo Dang, and so on. People in this region live in small villages, in communal houses (a type of ethnic architecture). They worship the god of the forest, the god of the mountain, etc. Each ethnic group has different traditional festivals connected with wonderful epics. Visitors can visit Ban Don Village in Krong Na commune, Buon Don district, Dak Lak province.
3 - Coastal region- famous for fishing villages in Vietnam
Fishing village - Source: Kenh14
With a coastline of more than 3,000km and a diverse system of bays, islands, archipelagos, from an early period, in Vietnam, there existed communities living along the coast and making a living by fishing and forming traditional fishing villages. The villages often are located near the calm water bays or large seas. The image of fishing villages floating on the water surface associated with colorful basket boats create a poetic scene and the beauty of working and life. Some famous fishing villages that people can visit are:
- Cua Van fishing village in Halong Bay
- Ham Ninh fishing village in Phu Quoc island
- Vang Vieng fishing village in Halong Bay
Coming to the villages, visitors not only enjoy the scenery, meet indigenous people, and explore local cuisine but you can also experience fishing with local people.
II - Craft villages in Vietnam
People in Vietnam are famous for their sophisticated techniques that create numerous world-famous items such as hand-embroidered paintings, ceramics, silk, bronze casting, rice wine village, carpentry, flower-planting, bamboo-weaving, stone-capturing, vegetable-planting,...
Visiting craft villages, visitors will witness and experience the process of making a perfect handicraft product. At the same time, you can choose for yourself a suitable craft product for souvenirs or for friends and relatives.
In Vietnam, you can visit some of the following traditional craft village in Vietnam:
- Bamboo and rattan products: Phu Vinh Craft Village, Phu Nghia Commune, Chuong My District, Hanoi City.
- Sedge and hyacinth products: Luu Thuong craft village
- Ceramics: Bat Trang - Giang Cao pottery village, Tho Ha village
- Paintings: Dong Ho village, Song Ho commune, Thuan Thanh district
- Bronze products: Ngu Xa Village, Tay Ho District
- Flower: Tay Tuu flower village, Nam Tu Liem
- Silk, textile, and garment: Van Phuc silk village
- Wooden products: Chang Son craft village
- Hand-embroidered products: Quat Dong embroidery village
III - Tourism villages in Vietnam
Ecotourism village is a new tourism model which has just appeared in recent years with the purpose to preserve cultural values of the region and at the same time develop the discovery, experience tourism model. Visitors will experience the daily life of indigenous people, and join in producing activities such as fishing, forming roofs from coconut leaves, rowing, and so on. You also can enjoy local cuisine and have unforgettable experiences. Some villages provide travelers interesting and unique activities that visitors can experience such as:
- Cam Thanh Eco-village, Cam Thanh commune, Hoi An city, Quang Nam province
- Ta Lang Eco-village, Bha Le Commune, Tay Giang District, Quang Nam Province
That is an overview of the list of villages in Vietnam, you can imagine some features of Vietnamese culture. If you have a chance to take a trip to Vietnamese don’t forget to visit ancient villages, craft villages, ecological villages, etc. It will be the best time for you to have a better understanding of Vietnamese life and customs, Vietnamese cultural and spiritual values, as well as have wonderful experiences.